"Education for Leisure" by Carol Ann Duffy, Power and Control

628 Words3 Pages
"Education for leisure" is a poem written by Carol Ann Duffy in which, among other dark and disturbing themes, power and control are immediately apparent. In this dramatic monologue the speaker is anonymous, presumably a young adult of undetermined gender. Duffy's character suffers from being ignored and forgotten and for that reason tries to win back the feeling of power and control by killing animals around him/her. The speaker gradually moves from the smallest and most defenseless victims towards bigger and more meaningful creatures. Carol Ann Duffy wrote this poem in the 1980s, during Margaret Thatcher administration and times of political, economic and social changes in Britain. Thatcher's capitalistic approach resulted in social exclusion of the underprivileged groups in society. That dramatically affected educational prospects and the economic status of the inferior social groups, "Education for leisure" accurately reflects those times of upheaval. The poem is composed of several themes, which all carry the same frightening and destructive notion of death, murder, frustration, conflict and control. In the course of the poem Duffy exploits a sphere of various poetic techniques such as sentence structure, imagery and word choice in order to convey the themes of power and control much desired by the speaker. The poem’s first lines strike us with a powerful and emotional statement. Immediately the speaker's disturbed mind is illuminated by bold claim: "Today I am going to kill something. Anything." The sentences here are short, direct, even snappy, created by Duffy deliberately, so this already powerful situation only double effectiveness on the reader. Another reason for using such short, blunt sentences by the poet is the purpose to keep the reader’s focus, avoiding any ways of misunderstanding or losing the track of the poem's plot. In addition to the

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